By Beenish Maqbool
ISLAMABAD, Dec 13 (APP):The second wave of coronavirus pandemic has badly affected the landa business (used clothes) in the federal capital due to fear of carrying the disease from secondhand winter wearing stuff.
‘Landa bazaars’ are being considered as a blessing for low-income class people and many areas turn to regular ‘landa bazaars’ in the capital for winter wear because of falling purchasing power of citizens.
Many people prefer to buy used clothes from European countries on cheap rates in winter.
These bazaars offer secondhand stuff including woolen sweaters, blankets, coats and jackets to children, adults and old age people while some of the knitwear is also bought by women who use the scrap wool to make other items and sell them locally.
‘Landa bazaar’ is the only place that offers an easy access to middle and poor class people to buy used imported clothes at cheaper rates but with the COVID-19 pandemic surging with every passing day.
The lifestyle of citizens was changing as they feared an increase in disease spread and contracting the deadly virus. “It is necessary to clean and sanitize second-hand winter wear before use but most people are least bothered to follow safety guidelines during the contagion spread.
My family decided to avoid going to ‘landa bazaar’ during this winter due to COVID-19 threats,” said Nasir Abbas, a citizen of G-7.He added many shopkeepers were totally unaware of basic SOPs related to the Corona and they displayed the used clothes without proper washing and sanitizing.
Another customer, Farhat Fareen said, “I regularly go to the landa bazaar every winter but this year coronavirus compelled me to purchase fresh winter stuff. She added there were complaints that shopkeepers of landa bazaar avoid following Corona SOPs.
Hasseb Ali, a vendor at a stall of landa clothes said that their sales had been reduced as compared to previous years because customers had fear of carrying corona virus.
He said recent rise in coronavirus cases and factors like unemployment due to pandemic had decimated the sales of many small businesses like landa.
He said that the majority of the customers complained that the COVID had affected their businesses and limited their purchasing power in the present price hike situation in the country.
“The customers even bargain while purchasing a single sweater which costs only rupees 100,” he added.
Another vendor at a second hand clothes stall said “the whole day they wait for customers but few people visit with hesitation and bargain to buy clothes at very cheap rates.”
He said that they were strictly following SOPs and were bound to wear masks and sanitize their hands but customers complained that there was no proper mechanism for disinfecting second hand clothes.
He said their business had been affected badly as there was a perception about shopping secondhand and people consider it as dirty and time-consuming and now due to COVID -19 their sales had been reduced to 70 percent.
He said people were reluctant to buy used clothes as they considered that those come from other countries which were more affected.
When contacted an official from Capital Development Authority (CDA), he said that they were also taking extra precautions to ensure maintaining a safe working environment for the employees and reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19.
He said, “We have sought the guidance from the Center for Disease Control and other expertise to develop some steps”. He said that they were implementing policies
and practices for all employees, contractors and visitors to engage in social distancing.
He said the authority staff regularly visited all bazaars including landa bazaars to monitor observance of Corona SOPs and impose fines and other penalties in case of any violation.